A daily note on some event in the history of mystery fiction.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
4/16/1993 Nancy Drew goes academic
April 16, 1993. There was a time when public libraries refused to stock books from the Stratemeyer syndicate (Bobbsey Twins, Hardy Boys, etc.), considering them "subliterature." By the 1990s there was a whole community of women, many of them writers, who remembered the Nancy Drew mysteries, authored by Carolyn Keene (mostly Mildred Wirt Benson) as their first experience with mystery fiction, and with a strong independent girl.
One result was that the first-ever academic conference dedicated to the study of the girl sleuth was held at the University of Iowa (Benson's alma mater). The place was full. Not so surprising when you consider that 80 million copies of the books have been sold. The conference papers were published as Rediscovering Nancy Drew and combine scholarly studies with nostalgic fondness.